I got my Oregon driver’s license last week (a comical endeavor which featured me panicking over the realization that I’d have to take the written test, taking the practice test online and flunking it in a fairly spectacular manner, then studying rabidly [go ahead, ask me any motor-vehicle-related-question for the state of Oregon, I’ve committed every single rule to memory and am basically the OR DOT Rainman now] for the goddamned test before showing up to the DMV in a cold sweat and ultimately passing just fine, thank you very much, although I was hugely distracted by the question of “What does this sign mean?” with a picture of a deer crossing sign and a selection of hilariously weird answers, which included “Dim lights because you are about to enter a deer sanctuary,” “Deer crossing ahead,” and “Slow down because you are approaching a deer petting area”) (DEER PETTING AREA) and when my permanent license showed up in the mail yesterday I spent some time regarding the two photos: the younger me on my Washington license, the me-of-last-week on my current license. I’m smiling in the current photo, as opposed to the strange thousand-yard-stare I’m doing in the older photo, but even setting facial expressions aside, I think I look … happier.

Screen shot 2012-07-26 at 6.05.08 PM

I was thinking, too, about how my weight is several pounds heavier on my new license but I distinctly remember fudging the numbers last time. How ridiculous is that, right? I mean, really. But I did, I gave a weight that was maybe eight pounds below my real weight, and my license before that had a weight I hadn’t seen since high school.

This time I didn’t feel the need to fib. Sure, I may have written down my early-morning-naked-on-the-scale weight rather than my shoes-and-clothes-evil-doctor’s-scale weight, but whatever, the point is I didn’t pull a number out of my ass for some pointless vain reason that doesn’t even make SENSE. (Police officer, regarding my bloody, lifeless form crushed from the impact of a rogue semi-trailer: “Well, that’s a darn shame. Says here she was in pretty good shape, too.”)

Anyway, I guess I feel more relaxed about diet stuff and fitness lately. I continue to get in these seemingly endless loops of eating really well and exercising every day, then suddenly losing all motivation and devouring great towering piles of junk from the Fuckit Bucket, but I don’t beat myself quite as much over the cycle. I spend a few days in the trough, then I eventually shake it off and hit the farmer’s market and put on my running shoes, and so it goes. (I’ve found it’s useful to have a variety of clothing sizes for this particular lifestyle, by the way.)

I joined a gym here, and sometimes I go to this class that’s sort of a combo of step and weightlifting, and the room is full of older ladies who crack jokes and bullshit with the instructor, and it’s super low-key and no-pressure and I like it. When the weather’s nice, I ride my bike, or go running, or walk the neighborhood. Sometimes I throw on a DVD and jump around the living room. I don’t spend my entire day thinking about my workout, I just … do stuff, or don’t, and it’s not a huge deal.

I don’t mean to imply I’ve matured beyond feeling hateful towards my belly roll or wobbly upper thighs, mind you. I feel wildly uncomfortable when I put on a few pounds, which is usually what prompts me to stop mainlining Cheetos. But fitness just feels like something I do, now. It’s not something I have to life-coach myself into on a weekly basis. It’s not taking up nearly as much headspace as it used to.

Looking back, I think I may have been a little intolerable about diet and fitness a few years ago. I focused on it a lot, I talked about it a lot, I shared a lot of thoughts that were meaningful to me but probably came off as preachy … or at least boring as fuck. I think it was what I needed at the time — something to help me feel strong and in control when my life was turned upside down by babies and I was stuck at my shitty degrading job — and it was hard for me to understand that the thing that was so beneficial to me wasn’t somehow a magic cure-all for the entire world, too.

It’s more clear to me now that we all go through stages and we all need different things and what’s great for one person at one time may not be great for someone else — or even great for that exact same person a few years later. Duh, right? (Look, I never claimed to be a quick learner.)

At any rate, I’m glad to be in a different place now — in so, SO many ways — than the person in the first photo. I don’t love the new wrinkles I find every day, but I’m glad for being older and maybe even a tiny, tiny bit wiser.


63 Responses to “Mellowed”

  1. Erin@MommyontheSpot on July 29th, 2012 6:17 pm

    I totally get this. Totally. The exercise to stay in control, the mellowness of letting go. I generally like birthdays for the whole mellowness/wiser thing.

  2. Amanda on July 30th, 2012 7:24 am

    We all go through phases and honestly, yours helped a lot of people. The one thing that gets me about blogging is it’s like the old journals from middle school and high school, if you look at them a certain way they make you look like you were a naive fool, but if you look at them another way they show you with exquisite intimacy how very much you’ve grown.

  3. Lola on July 31st, 2012 2:03 pm

    Ok but seriously, YOU were the reason that I started working out, period. I tried TurboJam because of you. I tried HipHop Abs because of you. I bought P90 because of you. And now, I’ve been working out pretty steadily since 2009. Granted, I still struggle with food in general since I like to eat, but I will always give you credit for sparking my interest in exercise. Like you, its just something I DO now because I like how it feels. :)

    (And, you are awesome in your picture.)

  4. Randy on July 31st, 2012 2:26 pm

    Ok, I’m new here. This is a great post. It seems we’re in the same place too. And when I say place, I mean well the exercise thing as well as, well… being on this page. Anyway, that was rather random. Hope to see more good posts like this. Feel free to stalk me now. I know how it goes.

  5. Randy on July 31st, 2012 2:27 pm

    By the way, you’re pretty attractive. :)

  6. Junni on August 1st, 2012 8:22 pm

    I was stuck in traffic on my way home today in Portland (yes, Portland gets traffic).

    There on the side of the road was an abandoned liberator sex wedge thing.

    Is it weird that I immediately thought of you??


  7. Gwen on August 3rd, 2012 9:48 pm

    I love your hair in the second one. Since I have taken exactly TWO decent DL photos in my life, I am so envious how good you look in yours. My current one looks like a mugshot.

  8. Julia's Math on August 4th, 2012 11:24 am

    First of all, two good DMV pics? So not fair! You have articulated some truths about my life very succinctly- the balance and control and moving towards acceptance. I did not read you in those days… I really really enjoy reading now. Thank you

  9. lee on August 4th, 2012 4:21 pm

    girl, you are rocking that farrah-do like nobody’s business! my hair always looks like peter frampton’s on a bad day, even when i bring the stylist a picture of natalie portman.

    fyi- i finally weigh what my license says!!!

  10. Quine on August 7th, 2012 8:02 am

    You’re truly inspirational: you were then when you were all about the exercise, and you are now when you’re glowing with happiness. You give me hope that I can lift my face out of the Fuckit Bucket (whoops, another chocolate brownie just fell into my mouth) long enough to get in shape, and you give me hope that I can transform my life. I can’t tell you what a joy it has been and is to see your pictures, to read your story, to watch you dream a dream and hang onto it and then let it go and still end up there. Absolutely awesome. Oh, and I like your hair too.

  11. agirlandaboy on August 7th, 2012 12:15 pm

    I loved reading your fitness posts because they were YOUR story. That’s why I come here–to read about someone’s life, not to read about how I should be living my life. Funny how often that line gets blurred, yeah?

  12. Frannie on August 8th, 2012 7:03 am

    I feel kinda like that picture on the left. I was married three years, pregnant for nearly two of them, and now my husband and I are no longer together.
    Last year I lost 80 lbs. of baby weight. I was always a meager runner, but I loved to run and I was happy to start. Seeing how you had goals from 5K to a marathon made it look feasible.
    I needed something to help me feel strong as well as I do now. My life does seem upside down. I’ll save the salacious details..it’s such a far cry from the dreams I had for us. I’m yearning for mellower days ahead and to know that it’s not the end here. Who knows what’ll happen. *Digs into bucket, with good hair.*

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